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Rainbow after Idai

This is a story by Amanda Wellmann, a well-known and active member of Ilona Slow Group Creations. She was a tester for Wacky Weave Squares and Wacky Weave Babette.

In this light of the Afrikaans crochet book just published, ‘Hekel en word Heel’, I simply have to share her story. Yet another woman who crocheted through a time of trauma.

Here is her story:

“When Hilda asked me to write the story behind “Rainbow after Idai”, my first instinct was to decline. Although I am a serious chatterbox I do not live with my heart on my sleeve and find it very difficult to talk about my emotions.  But, out of respect for unconditional friendship and emotional support during a very difficult time … this is for my friend Hilda.

We live in rural Mozambique not too far from Beira, and life in rural Africa can be very challenging at times.  We are prepared for most of the day to day challenges but nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared us for the total onslaught of Cyclone Idai.

We received notification that a serious cyclone was slowly making its way towards us, and we did everything we could think of to be prepared for the event.   We bought extra water and food and then we waited.   As the cyclone moved towards us the wind picked up and the rain came tumbling down.  Day turned into night with wind and rain like we have never seen. 

We watched huge old trees tumble to the ground and we heard our roof sheets lifting, we ran and moved furniture further into our house, we watched the ceiling cave in and the rain now bucketing down into our home.  We pushed a mattress in front of the door to keep the wind out and we stood in awe of the total onslaught of nature.

Around midnight suddenly everything went quiet, the eye of the cyclone now above us … total silence …. a man started wailing, raw cries, desperate pleas for help, children screaming …….

The following morning brought daylight and we stood speechless surrounded by total devastation and chaos.  There are no words to describe the days that followed, so much heartache, so many lost everything they owned, so many without food, so many without a roof over their heads, so many hungry children and so many who died.

We were literally cut of from the outside world, no communication, no water or electricity for 11 days.  We washed out of a bucket, we burned candles and we rationed our food.

After  8 days finally we had sporadic communication, my cell phone went crazy with 97 messages from family, friends and even people I haven’t seen or heard from in years.  Once contact was restored,  other than our families, only a few friends remained in contact.

One day my friend Hilda phoned me and asked if I am really okay, my answer ….  Yes, we are okay but NO I am not bloody okay!  There is so much heartache, so much devastation, so much sadness, that some days I feel as if I just can not cope anymore … if only I could stop thinking!

My friend listened to me for a long time, making the necessary sound effects where appropriate, and when I finally got rid of all emotions she said …. Well, then we need to keep your head busy with something else.  You used to be a tester right? Right! The testers are busy with the new Rainbow CAL and you can crochet Rainbow with them. Before I could say “pop goes the weasel”, once again I was part of the testers group with access to the new pattern.

MoYa is my favourite yarn and as I stood in front of my quite substantial stash, I decided to crochet myself a happy Rainbow blanket and as I watched it grow, this silent time brought me peace and joy through some very difficult days. 

To my friend Hilda, thank you for your unconditional friendship and thank you for the Rainbow you brought into my life after the devastation of Idai.

Love, Light and Blessings from darkest Africa.”

The kit for Rainbow after Idai will cost slightly more, due to a whole different colour arrangement. But with Amanda being the amazing artist she is, her rainbow came out beyond beautiful. I am honoured to have it now as a kit option for Wacky Weave Rainbow in the Round.

The kits are beavailable from Afrique Yarns.

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Wacky Weave Temperature Blanket 2019

This year has gone way too fast, and it sure isn’t slowing down towards the end either! We have to start planning our projects for next year. And if you want to make a temperature blanket with me, we have to start planning that NOW!

I decided to make a temperature blanket in Wacky Weave, for my super king size bed. There is no other way that I will ever crochet a blanket big enough for that bed, if I don’t do it one row a day. Every time I start a new CAL, I tell myself that I will just make the blanket bigger for myself afterwards, and it never happens. So a temperature blanket is the way forward.

So let’s start planning! I will ask you some questions to get you thinking, and then I will tell you what I am doing just in case my decision helps yours.

Yarn Questions

  • What yarn are you going to use?
  • Have you worked with it before?
  • Do you know how it will behave afterwards with this technique?
  • What is the budget for this project? (Luckily we can spread the costs out over an entire year! Yeee-haaa)
  • Is the yarn wash-friendly? (You don’t want to hand-wash a super king size blanket. (Just trust me on this okay?)

I am going to use Moya Cotton as normal. I have done so many projects with Moya. It remains my favourite cotton in the entire world. And…. here is the best part….. with MoYa Cotton, you can throw that blanket in the washing machine and in the tumble drier. It will come out as fat and fluffy as if it is brand new. Moya is affordable too. With the size of my blanket, that is a very important point.

Keep the following points in mind before you decide on a yarn:

  • The yarn must be SMOOTH; textured yarn is not suitable for interlocking.
  • The colours must be in stark contrast, otherwise the patterns disappear.
  • If you are going to use a variegated yarn, make sure the colour of the partner yarn doesn’t feature anywhere in the variegated yarn. If it does, the stitch pattern will be lost.

Colour Questions

  • How many colours are you going to use?
  • How are you going to allocate colours to your temperatures?
  • Are you going to use minimum or maximum temperatures?

And…. as always, I continue with my colour colour combo! My entire house has these colours. I can move my decor items around in my house and each item will fit in perfectly, regardless of where I place it. I always work in these colours when I am doing decor items for my house.

Size Questions

  • How big is your blanket going to be?
  • Have you made a swatch with the yarn you want to use, using an interlocking pattern stitch?
  • Do you know how many windows you will need to get the correct width and length?

I have been interlocking with MoYa for a couple of years now. I know that an interlocking window is exactly 1cm with a 3.5mm hook. I want to make a blanket of at least 2.5m x 2.5m. (Yes I know I am nuts. You are not telling me anything new).

That means I want about 250 windows in the width. If I want a square blanket, I need the same number of windows in the length. 250. But a year has 365 days. Now what? Well, a year has 52 weeks. That means 52 weekends. 104 days. I am excluding weekends. That leaves me with 261 days. But 261 is a difficult number to do patterns with. So I am going to make my afghan with 260 windows in the width and in the length (starting chain 524 – holy moly).

Other Considerations

I cannot use the same stitch pattern for an entire year. It will drive me insane with boredom. At least the colours will change (hopefully). I decided to use a stitch pattern for a month. So each month, I will change the stitch pattern. The colours will change as the temperatures vary. I will make two stitch patterns available at the start of each month next year. The one pattern will be in multiples of 4 windows, the other 5. With my number of windows (260) I will be able to use either. You have to make sure that you starting windows will be in multiples of either 4 or 5.

Are you joining me? I hope so!

If you haven’t yet joined my Facebook Group, do so now! 2019 is going to be a great year!